UN acting Libya envoy says "historic" truce covers "all areas of Libya", a country torn apart by civil war after Muammar Gaddafi's fall.

A general view of the talks between the rival factions in Libya's war at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland. October 20, 2020.
A general view of the talks between the rival factions in Libya's war at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland. October 20, 2020. (Reuters)

The two sides in Libyan military talks have reached a "historic achievement" with a permanent ceasefire agreement across the war-torn North African country.

After mediation led by United Nations acting Libya envoy Stephanie Turco Williams this week, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the UN called an "important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya."

The signing ceremony at UN European headquarters in Geneva was set for 0915 GMT on Friday, to be followed by a midday press conference by the UN envoy.

Details of the ceasefire were not immediately available.

Williams said on Wednesday that she was "quite optimistic" that ongoing talks between the warring sides would lead to a lasting ceasefire after they agreed to reopen land and air routes across front lines.

READ MORE: UN chief says Libya's future at stake, urges ceasefire

بشرى سارة لليبيين تتوج محادثات اللجنة العسكرية المشتركة 5+5 في جنيف اليوم بإنجاز تاريخي حيت توصل الفرقاء الليبيون إلى...

Posted by ‎Unsmil بعثة الأمم المتحدة للدعم في ليبيا‎ on Friday, October 23, 2020

Erdogan: Truce 'lacks credibility'

Immediately after the announcement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan questioned the viability of a permanent ceasefire. 

Erdogan hoped that the sides in the Libya conflict would abide by the ceasefire, but said, "it does not seem too achievable to me."

"Today's ceasefire agreement was actually not made at the highest level, it was at a lower level. Time will tell whether it will last," said Erdogan, who backs the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). 

"So it seems to me that it lacks credibility."

Years-long conflict

Libya is split between UN-supported and internationally recognised GNA government in the capital Tripoli and rival authorities loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar based in the east. 

The two sides are backed by an array of local militias as well as regional and foreign powers. 

The country was plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Long road ahead

"The road to a permanent ceasefire deal was often long and difficult," said Williams in a press conference in Geneva, noting that there’s a "great deal of work" to do in the coming weeks to implement the commitments. 

She expressed hope the agreement will succeed 'in ending the suffering of Libyans and allowing those displaced by the conflict to return to their homes."

On Wednesday, Williams had said the two warring factions agreed on issues that "directly impact the lives and welfare of the Libyan people," citing agreements to open air and land routes in the country, to work to ease inflammatory rhetoric in Libyan media and to help kickstart Libya’s vital oil industry.

Last month, the two sides reached preliminary agreements to exchange prisoners and open up air and land transit across the country’s divided territory. 

This breakthrough also accompanied the resumption of oil production after a months-long blockade by powerful tribes allied with Haftar.

Haftar’s forces launched an offensive in April 2019 to try and capture Tripoli, the seat of GNA in the west. But his campaign collapsed in June.

Fighting has since died down amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway to Libya's major oil export terminals.

READ MORE: Haftar's confidence weakened with the Tobruk regime's departure

Source: TRTWorld and agencies